Inside Ten Thousand Elephants it was all chaos. The walls were dripping with fluids of all colors. There was an octopus swinging from a chandelier, a girl with her head on fire was spraying the 'people' in the bar with a hose. A man on a table was pointing a shotgun at random things and shooting them. From somewhere in the chaos, a bottle flew up. It reached the height of its arc and the liquid in it sloshed and dropped on the ground.
The sight put Zed in motion. He jumped in the throng, climbed on a person's back, and dove through two fighting creatures and scrapped his elbows as he fell to the ground, catching the bottle in his hand. The world around him slowed down as he put the bottle to his lips and drank like a baby suckling on his mother's breast. He drank deeply while the world continued to break apart around him. It had been quite some hours since his last drink. Then, a stray projectile from the crowd smashed into his bottle and he was left with only the neck of the bottle in his hand.
He looked into the crowd for the culprit who broke his bottle of the amazing drink but found no one. He was about to jump into the crowd and start kicking some ass, any ass, as long as he was doing the kicking, when the people in the bar froze.
Everyone was literally frozen in whatever position they were in. Zed could move. He stood up and saw Marilyn walking around two things locked in a fistfight.
"Animals. All of them," she said with disgust dripping from every word.
She motioned Zed to the bar and clicked her fingers to make bartender un-freeze from his position behind the bar.
"A glass of milk for me and a shark-vod for the gentleman here."
The bartender nodded nervously and busied himself behind the counter.
"So," Zed asked her, "what's all this about?"
She took a deep breath.
"This is a race."
"That's good. I am good at racing. I've won them all, except that last one where your people intervened."
"But there is a lot at stake in this race."
"There is a lot at stake in every race."
"In this case, every single person on your planet dies if you lose."
Zed was silent for a beat. He mused on the possibility of a whole planet full of dead people.
"Who will make the vodka if they all die?" he asked.
The bartender put their drinks on the bar top. There was a tiny shark swimming in the Zed's glass of vodka. Nothing swam in Marilyn's glass of milk.
Zed raised the glass to her and swallowed it all in a gulp. The tiny shark thrashed around in his mouth for a bit, but he crunched it anyway. He grimaced at the burn and slammed the glass back on the bar.
"When does the race start then?
Chapter 12, What IS this race then?